The 4th-grade orchestra is the gate
way to all middle & high school music ensembles (band, choir, and orchestra).
While many students continue orchestra instruction into middle and high school, others decide to transfer their knowledge to learning a band instrument or singing in the choir. The skills and experiences 4th-graders have in the orchestra can transfer and prepare all students for music in middle school and beyond. However, if students don't get this opportunity until 5th grade, they are suddenly behind a year in their learning in ALL ensembles. This will eventually trickle up to the high school level, where some of the incredible, advanced experiences hundreds of students get to have may no longer be possible or feasible.
Additionally, many students from diverse backgrounds join the 4th-grade orchestra as it is an exciting curricular class to join with peers. In 5th grade, students have more options and activities, pulling them in different directions. It will be more challenging to engage all families, and some students will miss out on the opportunity to realize they enjoy music or that they see themselves as a musician. Our district is widely known throughout the state for its high-quality music program. Changing the starting year of orchestra instruction puts the quality of our program and the diversity of our classes in jeopardy.